Olympus PEN E-P5 Review
Movie mode enhancements
The E-P5 gains a few movie mode enhancements compared to the E-M5. Most striking is a magnified mode, which can be accessed from the touchscreen or (quite logically) the Magnify button. You can use this to zoom in on your subject during recording, or to check focus before you start. You also get a shortcut to the Picture Mode setting, using either the Fn button or the touchscreen.
|The E-P5 gets a few new movie mode features over the E-M5. You can now change the Picture Mode directly using the Fn button, and can magnify the view to zoom in on your subject or simply check focus.
These features, as well as the Movie Effects functions, can be activated using touch buttons on the screen, as well as from the camera's external controls.
|Pressing the magnify button first highlights a rectangle on the screen, like in stills mode. Pressing magnify again zooms in to the highlighted area, allowing you to check focus - especially useful when shooting with a manual lens.|
Photo Story is a feature that first appeared on the XZ-10 enthusiast compact, and this is the first time it's appeared on a Micro Four Thirds camera. Essentially it's an extension of Art Filters that lets you generate generate high resolution composite images in-camera from several exposures. Just like Art Filters there's a wide range of styles and variants available to play with.
|When you set the E-P5's mode dial to the Photo Story position, the camera first prompts you to set up the style you'd like to use. You can choose from two different basic types, 'Standard' and 'Fun Frames'.|
|Each type has a number of sub-types, and in the Standard mode you can select from a wide range of further variations. Each sub-type (I- IV) is based on a different Art Filter, and you can choose from four different image layouts, and four types of frame.|
|The Fun Frames mode, meanwhile, offers a choice of three layouts.|
When you shoot in Photo Story mode, the camera previews the composite page layout and provides a live view feed in the first frame. As you make each exposure, it progressively moves to the next frame. Cleverly, if you don't like the result you can step back through the composite using the delete key and try again. Once you've completed the layout you'll be prompted to save it to card.
Slightly disappointingly, you can't build Photo Story composites in Playback mode using images you've already shot, which we think could be an entertaining feature. However, we are impressed with the way the camera continues to save Raw files of the individual images if you wish.
Intevalometer / Time Lapse movies
New to the E-P5 is an intervalometer function, that allows you to set the camera up to shoot up to 99 frames at defined intervals. You can also get the camera to make a timelapse movie from the individual stills.
|The E-P5's intervalometer shooting function lets you choose the number of frames you want to shoot, a wait time before starting, and the time between frames.
You can also choose whether you want the camera to make a timelapse movie, which it will do alongside saving the individual images.
Here's a quick example of the sort of thing you can do. The main limitation is that 99-shot limit, which makes for rather short movies.
|Olympus PEN E-P5 time-lapse movie example|
The E-P5 offers a few further refinements and new features which may not be obvious from a quick skim of the specs. Here's a roundup of the ones we find most interesting.
|The E-P5's Image Stabilization functionality is improved compared to the E-M5. You can now choose whether you want IS activated separately for still and videos. The 'S-IS Auto' mode detects panning and corrects accordingly.|
|Another useful IS setting, previously seen on the E-PL5, is the option to specify whether you prefer to use in-lens or in-body IS when shooting with a Panasonic OIS lens.|
|The E-P5 also gains the 'HDR Bracketing' mode from the E-PL5. This is a wider-range version of exposure bracketing that's designed for making high dynamic range composite images in software. It offers bracketing up to +/-6 EV, and shoots at 9fps to minimise subject movement between frames. The camera will save both Raw and JPEG files, but won't attempt to make its own HDR composite image.|
|The E-P5 offers a custom setting to minimise the lag time between pressing the shutter button and the start of the exposure.
According to Olympus it reduces the lag to just 44ms, but at the cost of increased power consumption and reduced battery life.
|The E-P5 has an ISO 100-equivalent LOW setting. Olympus is specifying it like this because it comes at the cost of highlight range, and an increased risk of clipping.|
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